Vermiculite in Egg Incubation

Vermiculite used in egg incubation

Interestingly and rather unusually, vermiculite is used to incubate eggs, specifically reptile eggs. Eggs of all different kinds of reptiles including geckos, snakes, iguanas and even turtles can be placed in exfoliated vermiculite and left to develop before they hatch. Once in a plastic container or something of the sort, the vermiculite must in most cases be dampened so as to be moist – not soaked. A depression can then be made in the vermiculite, large enough to place the reptile egg within and to ensure that each egg has sufficient space to hatch.

Why vermiculite? There are a number of reasons why vermiculite is ideally suited to this application. For example, vermiculite is a good thermal insulator and is thus able to maintain a level of humidity, crucial for keeping the eggs warm. Equally however, the eggs cannot become too warm for risk of drying out. Vermiculite is also well known for its ability to retain moisture and control its slow release; it is due to this property that it is so frequently applied to compost mixes in horticulture. For the reptile eggs, this ensures that the hydrated environment required, is maintained.

Visually, exfoliated vermiculite resembles a concertina. It is this structure that allows air to flow freely and thus ensures that the temperature within the container is constant. Within such an environment, there can be risk of mould and fungi growth. However, vermiculite is sterile and thus prevents such growth from occurring. Ultimately, vermiculite’s properties make it ideal for use in egg incubation.


Did you know that vermiculite can be utilised to make ovens?! Indeed, pizza and bread-baking ovens specifically can be made using vermiculite that is mixed with cement. These ovens can be constructed fairly easily at home with exfoliated vermiculite and other refractory materials such as fire bricks.

Vermiculite is an ideal ingredient in such ovens due to its impressive properties. These properties include excellent fire resistance and insulation. Not only this but vermiculite particles expand when exposed to high temperatures, thus making cracking of the oven wall unlikely. The ovens are wood fired and can stand in your garden as a splendid focal point, and not to mention, a great excuse to host friends and family.

Vermiculite’s ability to insulate plays an important role in such ovens. In order to maintain a high temperature within the oven, the vermiculite and cement mix must be moulded around the outside of the domed oven wall at a thickness of at least 4 inches. If the oven is built without insulation, it will struggle to retain the heat generated from the fire.

With warmer days just a few months away, start building your pizza oven with vermiculite now!


Vermiculite surrounds us on a daily basis and yet, few individuals know it. Indeed, vermiculite is almost everywhere due to the fact that it is a very versatile mineral with many desirable properties and is thus utilised in a number of end-use applications, in a wide array of industries. Here are 5 things you probably had no idea vermiculite was in…


1. Hand warmers

Yes, that’s right, if you have air activated hand warmers, vermiculite will most likely be an ingredient! So, what does vermiculite do in a hand warmer? Well, vermiculite is an excellent insulator and when exposed to high temperatures, it expands, absorbing the heat. Vermiculite is also fire resistant, odourless and lightweight – all properties that make it ideal for use in hand warmers.

2. Clutch and brake linings of your car

Micron and Superfine vermiculite grades are well suited to use in the friction linings industry. This is due to the fact that vermiculite can be easily mixed with other raw materials to create a homogeneous mix. Furthermore, vermiculite is inert and this thus dramatically reduces the possibility of fire.

3. Wallpaper

Vermiculite can be used to make wallpaper. The addition of vermiculite creates texture and can be very visually attractive. Practically, vermiculite offers thermal and acoustic insulation as well as fire resistance.

4. Air fresheners 

Select air fresheners such as fragrant scented sachets may include vermiculite. Because vermiculite is sterile and odourless in its natural form, it is possible to add perfume to it and achieve the desired scent. Vermiculite is also excellent at retaining moisture and thus preventing dampness.

5. The Martian film / special effects in films

Did you know? Vermiculite was used in the film ‘The Martian’ (2015) starring Matt Damon. In the film there is a dust storm that strands the main character, Mark Watney on the planet Mars. To create the storm, huge fans blew smoke and vermiculite across the set. Indeed, vermiculite has been utilised in a number of films, particularly to create realistic explosions.


To find out more about vermiculite applications, click here: Vermiculite Applications and Uses


Vermiculite is a popular choice for home insulation in lofts because it possesses high thermal stability and is thus an excellent insulator. The presence of vermiculite as an insulator can dramatically reduce the quantity of heat lost in a home and is consequently a very economical investment. For this very reason, it has been utilized in the construction of pigsties to keep livestock warm during the cold winters. The loose-fill vermiculite is easy to install and can also operate as a sound absorbent material, so not only does it contribute towards maintaining a well-insulated home but goes some way to blocking out outdoor noise.

Vermiculite can be seen as a highly desirable property because it is inert. Due to this intrinsic fire resistance, it is an imperative component in a vast array of industries, particularly construction and most notably, the friction linings industry. A widely unknown fact for example is that vermiculite is likely to be present in the brake and clutch linings of your car. Furthermore, vermiculite can be applied to structural steel, in car parks for instance, by way of a spray. Due to the mineral’s ability to retain moisture, in the event of a fire, steam would be produced, which would in turn cool the steel and delay the spread of fire. Vermiculite’s presence in fire doors also contributes to this purpose.


Overall, 2017 has been a very successful year for Palabora Europe. The team and all of our service providers continue to deliver a quality experience to all customers, providing key support at every stage of the supply chain, and this is something that we are very proud of. Sales in 2017 have been largely characterised by the introduction of new customers and an increase in market demand. As a result, this year has seen leading sales figures.

Earlier in the year, the plant underwent maintenance. Improvements were made to machinery and the overall vermiculite production process. This was part of Palabora Mining Company’s mission to consistently supply its customers with a high quality product. The industry has increased its focus on product stewardship and thus, more product analysis, testing and sampling will be required in the future. Palabora is more than happy to develop this space with customers.

In order to expand our reach to both existing and potential customers, we have established a greater online presence this year. Our Twitter page (link located at the top right of the page) has seen growth and furthermore, the website itself has undergone a dramatic redesign in order to better attract and appeal to visitors.

As we move into 2018, our emphasis continues to focus on ensuring a quality package is delivered to all customers. As a result of the fantastic performance achieved this year, the mine will be allocating an increased budget to vermiculite production during 2018 and we are confident that product quality will continue to improve.

With regards to communication, as always, we will endeavour to maintain our close professional relationships with customers and support them in any way that we can.

From all of us at Palabora, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Q. What is vermiculite?

Vermiculite is hydrated phlogopite mica, a naturally occurring mineral possessing a number of desirable properties. When heated, it has the remarkable ability to expand many times its original volume, a process called exfoliation.


Q. What is the minimum order size at Palabora?

There doesn’t really exist a minimum order size, you can order as much or as little as required. However, our bags hold 1.2 tonnes of vermiculite each, and we have found this to be a good sample size for new customers.


Q. Where does Palabora vermiculite come from?

Palabora vermiculite is mined in the Limpopo Province of South Africa by our parent company, Palabora Mining Company Limited. The crude vermiculite is then shipped to our stockpiles in Antwerp, Belgium and Flixborough, UK by way of bulk vessel and coasters.


Q. Should I be worried about asbestos?

Palabora vermiculite is vigorously tested for the presence of asbestos both internally and by the independent bodies, IOM (the Institute of Occupational Medicine) and ITGA (Institut Technique des Gaz et de l’Air). Supplying a safe product is of the utmost importance to us and we have done so for over 40 years.


Q. Do you sell exfoliated vermiculite?  

We are a supplier of crude vermiculite only. However, if you require exfoliated Palabora vermiculite, we can put you in contact with our extensive network of exfoliators. Please just ask.


Q. Where can I learn more about vermiculite?

Please peruse our website at your leisure, if you still require more information, visit TVA (The Vermiculite Association) website




Vermiculite is utilized on a large-scale in the construction industry – but how or why exactly? Due to its slight bulk density, exfoliated vermiculite is an ideal ingredient in the manufacturing of lightweight concretes and plasterboards. These concretes can be used for in-situ roof and floor screeds and in the fabrication of precast products.

Vermiculite is also used in the making of some plasters because it’s presence provides a number of benefits. For example: improved coverage, improved adhesion to a wide range of backgrounds and increased resistance to cracking and shrinkage. These plasters can be made with either gypsum or Portland cement and applied by hand or with a spraying machine to improve ease of handling. Finer grades of vermiculite can even be added to plasters that provide a base for swimming pools.  

Due to its inertness, vermiculite is intrinsically fire resistant and thus, concretes containing vermiculite can be used for insulating around back boilers and as a fire back support material. Furthermore, exfoliated vermiculite is often used in the production of structural steel due to its ability to withstand extremely high temperatures (of around 1,000 degrees Celsius). Indeed, this property also ensures that vermiculite plays an important role in the friction linings industry, for example, it will be present in the brake and clutch linings of your car.

Learn more here: Vermiculite Applications and Uses


In agriculture, vermiculite is used in crop farming. As in horticulture, it can also be utilized as a fertilizer in this industry. Vermiculite is sterile, inert and has an impressive cation exchange capacity – one considerably higher than competing products. Its presence resists changes to soil pH thus protecting the crop from potential damage caused by fungi and bacteria. It is also important to acknowledge that vermiculite’s high-volume yield accommodates a large liquid uptake, thus maintaining a hydrated environment and enabling the crop to flourish.

In the rearing of livestock too, the use of vermiculite has many advantages. For example, it is often added to feed mixtures for cattle, poultry and hogs (the use of either Micron or Superfine grade will deliver the best results in this application). The mineral acts as a bulking agent and digestive, and due to its absorption properties, also a carrier of nutrients. Specifically, nutrients such as fat concentrates, vitamin preparations and molasses. Moreover, vermiculite can control the release of vital minerals absorbed from additional fertilizers, further intensifying the nutrient content. This high nutrient content will also be present in the animal excrement, enabling the manure to be recycled with increased performance.

Learn more here: Vermiculite Applications and Uses


One of vermiculite’s most well-known end uses is its extensive application in horticulture. Within this industry, exfoliated vermiculite is most commonly utilized as a key contributor in compost formulations. Vermiculite’s presence helps to improve the structure of the soil and furthermore, many of its properties enable the stimulation of growth in plants, allowing them to thrive.

It is the large surface area and lattice-like structure of exfoliated vermiculite that creates high porosity and open cavities facilitating high absorbency of water, fertilizers, pesticides and various food components; this property also permits excellent aeration. It’s capabilities with regards to high water retention ensures soil sustains its moisture and maintains a hydrated environment.

The composition of vermiculite includes minerals such as magnesium oxide, potassium oxide and calcium oxides. The presence of these elements aid plant nutrient supply thus contributing to vermiculite’s use as a carrying medium. Vermiculite is also sterile, non-toxic and inert, meaning it’s free from pests and diseases and crucially, clean to handle for commercial and domestic users alike.


Learn more here: Vermiculite Applications and Uses


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